Alperton was lucky enough to have two authors visiting last week! Poet and author Ashley Hickson-Lovence spoke to Year 12 English students about his journey from Hackney council estate to published author of the novel ‘The 392’. Students got an insight into the publishing process as Ashley took them through the importance of finding the right agent and publisher, as well as fellow authors to support your work.

Now completing his PhD in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, he gave students a glimpse of the early stages of his second novel, which focuses on the life of football referee Uriah Rennie. Ashley followed this with a creative writing workshop for 30 lucky Year 7 and 8 students. He performed some of his own spoken-word poetry, and after analysing imagery in a variety of poems, students put pen to paper to write about their home. Those brave enough to present their work shared some stunning, evocative poems.

Later in the week, author Annabel Pitcher spoke to Year 8 students about her book ‘My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece’, which they have been reading in form time this year. In a fascinating presentation, Annabel explained how 9/11 and the fallibility of childhood memories had inspired her to write the novel. She answered questions from students about the writing process and the importance of tackling difficult topics such as racism and grief. After her talk, Annabel ran a dynamic creative writing workshop for selected students in which they were challenged to write a horror story with a twist. After acting out a terrifying walk past a bike outside an abandoned house – with sound effects! – students produced some truly chilling openings to their stories.